RCMP in Maple Ridge are trying to implement a new tool to keep repeat offenders out of the city’s downtown core.
Called a ‘red zone’, it would provide police the opportunity to arrest a repeat offender who is found in that area. Due to their past criminal behaviour related to that area, the repeat offender would have a condition to not return.
The Maple Ridge boundaries would be from Brown Avenue to 50 metres south of Lougheed Highway, between 222 and 226 Streets.
Police say business owners in that area are concerned with drug trafficking, drug use and property crime. In a release, police say they are frustrated to see certain offenders continue to re-victimize the same neighbourhood even after they have already been arrested and are waiting for the court process to begin.
Ultimately, we believe that it will allow for more effective downtown policing efforts, and gives these people a strong signal that their repeated downtown behaviours are not welcomed here, said RCMP Supt. David Fleugel.
This gives us one more tool along with a long list of policing strategies that have been put into place already.
“This is one new strategy we have not explored as yet. This is not the sole solution to some of our challenges, but we anticipate that it will provide our officers another option they can utilize in reducing crime and enhancing the feeling of safety in the town center.”
The City of Kelowna has a red zone but not everyone thinks it’s a good idea as services are located in the area that some of those people need.
“I believe that it distributes the concern around the community,” said Kelowna councillor Charlie Hodge. “So instead of having the red zone downtown, it pushes all the offenders to the outside of the downtown, so now you have police chasing the concerned individuals around the community. It pushes them into the residential areas.”